Inaction on Choice Frustrates Vermonters

Published July 1, 1999

The only legislation that would have expanded school choice in Vermont this year was a provision to allow students to choose among high schools if smaller districts consolidated into a larger one–but only if the high schools agreed to offer choice. Even that minuscule choice provision did not pass the House Education Committee, leaving school choice advocates “frustrated, disappointed, and angry” at the House’s lack of action on the issue.

“Last year, the legislature promised to enact school choice legislation,” lamented Libby Sternberg, president of Vermonters for Educational Choice, yet all the House Education Committee did was form a subcommittee. The subcommittee called no witnesses and heard no testimony.

Sternberg’s group wrote a letter to House Education Committee Chairwoman Val Vincent, a Democrat from Waterbury, requesting that school choice be placed at the top of next year’s agenda. Vincent told Associated Press reporter Ross Sneyd that she would look at the issue but raised concerns about “the poor children . . . left behind, the children who don’t have the family resources to make choices.”